Google Changes stance on Abortion Keywords
Back in March, Google rejected a Google Adwords ad from the Christian Institute, a British group. It stated “UK Abortion laws: Key news and views on abrotion law from The Christian Institute.” This group put out this ad during a period where the House of Commons was considering a bill regarding abortion issues. Google rejected this ad stating that it contained “abortion and religion-related content”.
The lawyers of the Christian Institute immediately filed a lawsuit saying the company was discriminating on religious grounds. They said it violated the United Kingdom’s Equality Act of 2006, which prohibits religious discrimination in providing services. Their case was that Google was allowing secular groups to promote abortions and their practices but was not allowing other groups, or in this case religious groups, to advertise in that space.
Google has limits to what can or cannot be advertised. For example they will not allow ads that promote violence. They monitor ads using a mix of manual and automated processes.
Google announced last Wednesday that they had reached a settle with the Christian Institute. Terms were not disclosed.
“The issue of abortion is an emotive subject and Google does not take a particular side. Over the last few months, we have been reviewing our abortion ads policy in order to make sure it was fair, up-to-date, and consistent with local customs and practices. Following the review, we have decided to amend our policy, creating a level playing field and enabling religious associations to place ads on abortion in a factual way.” – Google
Google is now allowing religious groups to show abortion keyword ads as long as they are factual and not graphic or emotional.
“We are pleased with Google’s constructive response to this matter,” the Christian Institute said in a settlement.
I believe Google did the right thing here. Most people expect me to say because they shouldn’t stop one group from advertising while allowing another, but I think it goes deeper than that. The fact that Google is trying to limit advertising based on moral reasons such as no ads promoting kid violence and ad products made of endangered species is something laudable in a time where such practices can easily be attacked. We live in a culture of “tolerance” where tolerance isn’t defined as respecting one another as human beings despite our differences, which has been the way throughout history, but respecting all ideas no matter how false they may be. This means even if someone is wrong, we are supposed to let them believe it because it is their choice and you can’t be “intolerant”. This doesn’t help with moral progress, social progress, and frankly the maturity of our own characters and our ability to understand our world. I think it’s great Google is willing to stick to their guns about blocking advertising in particular categories they deem morally wrong or legally sketchy, though let’s be honest here in that these are pretty easy to define moral areas so it doesn’t take that much courage to do so.
So yes, I believe Google did the right thing, but not for the reason most people may be thinking. I believe they did the right thing because religious group trying to put up factual information about abortion is not a moral issue such as violence for kids or a illegal issue like killing endangered animals for profit.
Now what if Google blocked abortion clinics from advertising saying it’s morally wrong because it is the same as killing a child. Now that is a controversy straight to 1st page news!
What is your take on this? Comment below.
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